Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Retire in Sierra Vista, Arizona?
Overview: Once a trail stop for Mexican conquistadors, Sierra Vista is located in the southeastern corner of Arizona, approximately 75 miles from Tucson. It is surrounded by rugged mountains and bills itself as the "Hummingbird Capital of the World." It is also home to the U.S. Army's Fort Huachuca, which is located to the north and east of town and has 18,000 active duty soldiers, military families and civilian workers. The local economy is heavily dependent on the military base.
Bird watchers flock here from mid-April to mid-September to view more than 150 bird species. Snowbirds, the human kind, come here, too, but more so during the winter months. Hiking, bicycling and desert camping are all popular, and five golf courses have a Sierra Vista address. The city has a strong Southwest character, and many homes have sandstone exteriors and Xeriscaped yards. The Mall at Sierra Vista is the primary shopping venue and has a Dillard's, a Sears, specialty shops and a movie theater. The Sierra Vista Symphony, the Sierra Vista Ballet and the Desert Swing Band lend a touch of culture, often performing at the lovely Buena Performing Arts Center.
Restaurants range from Japanese to Italian but are mostly national chains. There is, though, a food coop. Residents enjoy regular band performances in the park, rodeos and parades. There are nearly two dozen wineries within a two hour drive. Night time skies are usually clear and shimmering.
Population: 44,000 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 32%
Cost of Living: 6% below the national average
Median Home Price: $170,000
Climate: The elevation is 4,650 feet above sea level, so summer temperatures are mostly in the 80s and 90s. Winter temperatures are in the 20s, 30s and 40s On average, the area receives 14 inches of rain per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? Yes
Public Transit: Yes, provided by Vista Transit
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Very conservative
Is Arizona Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: Eighteen children associated with Sierra Vista were diagnosed with leukemia between 1995 and 2006, a rate above the national average. The Arizona Department of Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigated the situation and found nothing that would cause increased cancer rates. Since 2006, occurrence statistics have come back in line with national averages.
Notes: Restaurants and roadways fill up during the winter. Fort Huachuca has an air base. The city is racially diverse and growing and has grown by 30% within the last decade or so. Some people say Sierra Vista is kind of boring.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
The Grand Canyon State was originally part of New Mexico. After the land was ceded to the U.S. in 1848, it became a separate territory. It did not enter the union until February 14, 1912. Copper was discovered in the area in 1848, and metals mining continues to be an important part of the economy. Cattle and tourism are two of the states other vital industries.
Although Arizona can be one of the hottest states in the union, air conditioning continues to bring more and more people to the urban areas. The Colorado Plateau spreads through Arizona from the north and is interspersed with remnants of the Rocky Mountains. The land flattens into desert near Phoenix. The Colorado River forms the state's western borders and snakes through the Grand Canyon.
Arizona is home to places with names like Nothing, a ghost town in western Arizona, and the Horspitality Resort.
The state is stubborn when it comes to time. It observes Mountain Standard Time on a year round basis.
Population - 6,931,030
Persons 65 years old and over - 17%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 86%
Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 27%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 31%
White persons, not Hispanic - 58%
Median household income - $50,225
Median home value - $167,500
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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